Section 4: Consciousness
Consciousness is commonly defined as being aware of the immediate environment. i.
For example, knowing when to go to class or work.
Consciousness also deals with awareness of your thoughts, feelings, and memories. i.
Making plans for dates.
Getting annoyed at your performance in school.
Thinking back about good times with your friends.
Early psychologists and their studies
When early psychologists studied the mind, they studied consciousness. 1.
William Wundt (late 1880's) had subjects report contents of consciousness while working, falling asleep, and sitting still. 2.
Sigmund Freud (1900's) wrote that needs, desires, and influences are part of the conscious and people have different levels of consciousness. d.
Started by French philosopher Rene Descartes stated that mind and body are separate, but interacting. ii.
Dualism says that one thing cannot exist without it's opposite. 1.
Light cannot exist without darkness.
Good cannot exist without the presence of evil.
The body cannot function without the mind, and so forth.
Psychologists say that our mental activity is rooted in the brain. ii.
Dominant perspective with modern psychologists.
Tends to take a less black and white view of "consciousness" versus "unconsciousness." iv.
Psychologists say that you are more aware of certain mental processes over others. 1.
For example, doing the same routine at work and time seems to go by faster. v.
Cognitive psychologists ignore the unconscious. They call it the deliberate versus the automatic. f.
Different levels of Consciousness
Freud and other cognitive psychologists came up with this theory. 1.
Consciousness is a continuum.
Someone who isn't paying attention is still conscious, just not "as conscious" as someone that is alert. 3.
Believes that drinking will bring you into a lower level of consciousness. 4.
If you are in a state of consciousness that is different from what you normally are, you are in an altered state of consciousness. 5.
When you are asleep, however, you are in a state of "turned off" consciousness. (Hobson, 1994) ii.
Being able to think about their own thinking.
May allow them to access levels of consciousness that are not available to other people. a.
For example, people's natural sleep timers.
Researched by asking people to track their consciousness, alertness, and moods over a length of time. a.
Found out that there is a natural rhythm to consciousness. iii.
Functions of Consciousness
Allows us to monitor our mental and physical states.
Allows us to control our mental and physical states, to an extant. iv.
What is consciousness?
General state of being aware of and responsive to events in the environment, as well as one's own mental processes. II.
Theories of Consciousness
Several researchers suggested biological theories of consciousness. i.
Used evolution of the brain as the key to consciousness.
Jaynes (1976) believed that consciousness came from the different functions of the hemispheres of the brain. 2.
Ornstein (1977) said that there were two modes of consciousness that was controlled by each side of the brain. a.
The active-verbal-rational (active) mode
Automatic or default mode of the brain.
People limit their awareness automatically in order to shut out stimuli that do not directly relate to their ability to survive. b.
The receptive-spatial-intuitive-holistic (receptive) mode i.
Used when people expand their normal awareness.
Used when people need to gain perspective or insight about something. iv.
Includes biofeedback, meditation, hypnosis, and drug use. v.
Used to balance the active mode.
Ornstein and Galin supported the idea that the brain is divided and...
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